for Sean Quinn
Yesterday after midnight at the Polish bakery,
there was a long line of old women standing outside,
each bent, with thick-soled shoes and
hands hidden in pockets,
equal parts patience and urgency,
with probably simple but particular needs.
Inside, the women waved bills and fingers,
stretching themselves over the counter,
paper wrapped pastries inside paper bags,
inside plastic bags.
I had the feeling you have when you realize
that a lot of people know something
that you don't.
How can one sleep with so many feelings?
You lay down and close your eyes,
and the sleep washes over the feelings,
washing them out to sea, where they float,
like note-filled bottles and other man-made trinkets,
for years, for lifetimes, for generations,
or until the next day's tide,
returned to you by the moon,
or a song from your days in Hoboken,
or the name of your favorite lover,
or the memory of the lover that left you, who,
restless, asked the same question to himself
and heard no sensible answer.